Fears for trade as Tesco bids for village pub in Ore

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ORE residents are up in arms as a well-known former pub in the village could be turned into a supermarket.

Tesco has plans to convert the Oddfellows Arms, in Old London Road, into one of its Express stores.

Around 700 people have signed a petition against the supermarket giant’s proposals, as part of a campaign organised by local ward councillor Michael Wincott.

Mike Dowds, of Leeds Close, said: “This is the death knell for the community that is Ore village. We are more than catered for in the provisions sector with the Co-op, Premier store and several others so we do not really need Tesco. The opening of this store will see Ore turned into a ghost village as the independent retailers fall by the wayside. This would be a great pity to the area and would not reflect well on tourists entering from the Channel ports, seeing empty shops. Something does need to be done with what used to be a grand old pub but Tesco is not the answer.”

Another resident, Marrion Wells, said: “Residents’ feeling is very strong about this. There is also a very strong movement to restore Ore to its ‘village’ ambience, chiefly led by Sarah Kowitz’s very active Ore in Bloom organisation. We simply do not feel there is room for yet another household store in this area.”

Tesco, which would not need planning permission to turn the Oddfellows Arms into a shop, said the store would create around 20 jobs and would open next Autumn.

It plans to submit an application to the council for minor works, such as alterations to the shopfront.

The Oddfellows Arms has been in Ore for more than 100 years before closing last year. The original pub was based at 425 Old London Road. It was knocked down in 1929 and the present mock Tudor site built in the same year at 397 Old London Road.

Simon Petar, corporate affairs manager for Tesco, said: “Our Express stores are very popular with customers and communities. We find our stores help rejuvenate and revitalise shopping areas as we bring more people out to shop. Interest in the local jobs we will create have already been received. We will continue to discuss our proposed store with the local community in the weeks ahead.”